Ulcerative Colitis Tips


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Diet for UC! Keep your UC in Check!

Ok where should I start; I’m 24 and I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis less than 3 months ago. I have always lived a healthy life (I’m actually a dietitian): regular exercise and a healthy diet (no processed food) and cooked most things from scratch, oh and no family history of Ulcerative Colitis or Crohns.  Ok so far so good -well not quite!

During the last 5 years or so I have had ‘vague’ bowel issues; unexplained urgency, being bloated, softer than usual stools, occasionally going to the toilet more often, and during the past year passing blood. I ignored all of these issues and attributed them to irritable bowel or whatever (although the symptoms did not occur with stress) -until I saw the ‘blood’.
At first I ignored the blood too and thought well maybe it’s hemorrhoids; however the blood continued to resurface despite using hemorrhoidal creams and not straining etc. Then I had a really bad bout of diarrhea and i was going to the toilet 4-8 times a day. Which I thought was due to changing hormones as I had just gotten pregnant at the time!
I went to the gastro doctor and she concurred it was most likely hemorrhoids and the diarrhea was most likely due to hormonal changes. The diarrhea resolved on its own in less than a month, and i had a good pregnancy and i was able to eat pretty much anything I wanted; for the first time in years.  In retrospect that must have been due to the anti-inflammatory effects of increased cortisol levels in the body during pregnancy.

I carried on the rest of my pregnancy and made the most of being able to eat whatever i wanted -I could eat ice cream and not get diarrhea, and eat legumes without doubling over in pain the next day…etc (keep in mind that up to this point i thought that I was just ‘sensitive’ to these foods so i had previously eliminated them from my diet).

Then I gave birth and it all went on a downward spiral from there.  After giving birth I started having increased bowel motions which i ignored because i was too busy with my baby and the new life and role as a mother. I did not return to my previous ‘healthy’ diet i was following before birth because again i was too busy.
Things continued to get worse and i started to have really bad cramps and diarrhea which landed me in hospital for dehydration. After an agonizing hospital stay and numerous tests and procedures I was diagnosed.  And after the diagnosis i had to endure a course of prednisone which resulted in sleepless nights, anxiety and depression. As difficult and seemingly never-ending as those days were; i will not go into detail about them here because i want this story to be a positive one.

And here is the positive part: I’m now ‘almost’ in remission; my body is still tired and exhausted and achey and i do occasionally get the cramping and diarrhea but overall i would say i’m progressing towards remission.
How did i do it? First i have to credit God’s help and the strength he has given me during this very difficult time without which i would have broken down a long time ago. There is also the diet that i have been on all these years and did not realize how important it was for keeping the Colitis in check until i went back on it (the medications doctors give you on their own do not get you in remission -from my experience anyway) .

The diet is called the Low FODMAP Diet -it is absolutely wonderful at managing UC during flares and to keep you in remission. It is much less restrictive than the much publicised SCDiet. Also, the Low FODMAP Diet is actually scientifically validated, based on research, and written by a Dietitian in consultation with Gastroenterologists.

I have also began taking probiotics, and Manuka honey (1-2 tsp a day) and eating 1-2 cups a day of leafy salad vegetables (low fodmap vegies) to give me the fiber I need to help keep my intestines ‘moisturize’. And recently i have started having a pinch of seasalt before and after every meal as this is reported to actually help the digestion and absorption of food in the muslim religion.

So that’s what I did to help bring my UC in remission. Everyone’s story maybe different but I just wanted to share what worked for me because i know there are people out there who are searching for answers -especially the newly diagnosed UC’ers. And i know all the information out there can be very confusing. I also know that SCDiet, which probably is the only thing out there with a good backup of ‘anecdotal’ evidence that it works, is very difficult to follow. I would say try the Low Fodmap Diet, and if it doesn’t work for you then try the SCD Diet.

Good luck to all and God bless!


Mrs B’s story is now entered into the 2011 Ulcerative Colitis Writing Contest!!!

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FODMAP

16 Responses to Diet for UC! Keep your UC in Check!

  1. tylotyler June 22, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    This is interesting. Where can I learn more about this diet? I googled it and didnt find much on it. Im currently on SCD but I like to keep an open mind.

  2. Mrs B June 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Hey there!

    The diet’s name is the Low FODMAP diet and it is based on PHD research done by an Australian dietitian called Sue Shepherd. it has only been published in the last four or so years but is scientifically proven and gastroenterologist-endorsed (well atleast here in Australia). It was originally made for people with IBS but it was found to be helpful for people with UC as well (makes you wonder how many people with ‘IBS’ actually have UC but just haven’t been diagnosed yet).
    I have attached an article on the diet for you to read.
    The main website for the diet is : http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet
    She offers a phone consultation service for people who live overseas.
    I’m a dietitian myself and i found out about this diet while studying my degree at university and Sue Shepherd and Peter Gibson came and gave us a series of lectures about this diet.

    I hope it works out for you! I personally found that eliminating wheat from my diet has helped alot. She suggests you avoid rich sources of wheat such as bread, pasta, noodles…etc but i avoid wheat alltogether now. (She says because wheat belongs to ‘fructooligosaccharides’ which are poorly absorbed). There are many other poorly absorbed carbohydrates like fructose, fructans, polyols…etc and she lists the sources of each.
    You will find that it is very SIMILAR to the SCDiet -except that there are less restrictions. The SCDiet, in my opinion, just applies blanket restrictions which unfortunately includes some ‘ok’ foods that don’t cause problems -like rice and potatoes. Also, the SCDiet permits all fruits which is ridiculous because some fruits like apricots, nectarines are rich sources of polyols (which can cause diarrhoea) and other fruits like apples which are rich sources of fructose (which can also cause intestinal issues in people who have fructose malabsorption).

    So yeh lots to think about there.

    Good luck

  3. tylotyler June 23, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    You know thats what bothers me the most about the scd diet. Why can I not have sweet potatoes or brown rice! I can understand white potatoes but Sweet potatoes are a low glycemic, and strong anti-inflammatory and good for putting weight back on for under weight people with colitis. I mean i guess it makes since that complex carbs maybe complex to digest but who knows. Im also bit concerned about the high amounts of fructose allowed on the scd as you stated. Thats why I do not consume fruit juices, just seems like too much sugar as well as the massive amounts of honey that i consume on scd. All that sugar even if it is fructose just cant be good. Im following the Scd and will probably stick with it for a wile as I seem to be doing better but im very interested in this diet you are talking about, and if I like the way it looks may switch. Thanks for posting. This is a little off topic but I have taken a class in nutrition and am considering switching it to my major. How do you like it? I hear its become a competitive field.

    • Wunderer June 5, 2014 at 6:14 am #

      Hi tylotyler – White potato is considered better than sweet potato on Low Fodmap. In fact I just ate my first boiled potato in a year tonight since moving to Low Fodmap. Guess I’ll know how it went tomorrow!

  4. OrdinaryWorldWhereRU June 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Thank you for posting this and providing a link in the reply section.

  5. Dove August 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Thanks for your post re: the fodmap diet, there was actually an article in the herald sun a few weeks ago about this, the article was written by Sue Shepherd and Dr Peter Gibson, who has recently been appointed head of the gasterologist dept at the Alfred hospital. It’s good to know that there are top GIs out there who do believe, based on extensive research, that diet plays a big part in UC flares. Sadly, my current GI seems I can eat anything I want (yeah right!). I have booked myself in to see a dietitian at Shephard Works in 2 weeks time to learn more about the fodmap diet (unfortunately the SCD doesn’t agree with me, I flare up with homemade DCCC, almond flour, red meat and so many other SCD legal foods. Looking forward to trying the FODMAP diet (and changing GIs too!)

  6. Mrs B August 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Hi there Dove,
    My GI also told me that i could eat whatever i wanted. Thats also what we were taught at university however i knew that low FODMAPS diet has been used successfully to manage IBS so i thought why not give it a try. But yeh the low FODMAPS is not yet recognised as ‘treatment’ by GI’s. GI’s generally (and i know this is a bit of a generalisation) do not recommend alternative therapies unless they are in the best practice guidelines. However i find that ridiculous because sometimes there are many studies that show a particular therapy or strategy to be effective however they don’t make it to be included in best practice guidelines because they have not been tested in RCTs (randomised controlled trialls) or if they do make it they are given a category D or E rating (which is pretty poor). And given how busy most GIs are; they don’t bother telling a patient to try a category D therapy (eg diet, probiotics …etc).

    so yeh unless your GI is ‘open-minded’ then they will only stick to category A or B treatments which is the 5-ASA or the steroids; don’t get me started on the steroids! these drugs should be banned! or otherwise used for VERY short bursts of treatment but the sad reality is that many patients get put on prednisone for months!

    As for flaring up on:
    – DCCC (dried cottage cheese): is because of lactose (which is restricted on the FODMAPS)
    – almond flour: i think the low fodmaps says in small quantitues (less than 100g) most nuts are ok except pistachios. i also avoid almond flour because it makes things worse -so yeh you are not alone there!
    – red meat is not restricted on fodmaps -this is prob more of a chemical intolerance. the RPAH elimination diet may help in conjunction with FODMAPS.

    good luck with it all! its a tough journey but the low fodmaps is definitly worth trying. I’ll remember you in my prayers.

    btw, i also avoid corn/maize since it also makes me cramp

  7. Dove August 22, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Oh don’t get me started on corn…that is the worst food for me! Strange that foods that I never ever had problems with before having UC including corn, wheat, meat, fructose products, all of a sudden I am completely intolerant too! Are you taking probiotics at the moment? I want to but have no idea which one to take, especially because I’m lactose intolerant…

    I’ll be praying for you too, God is good and with Him all things are possible :)

  8. Mrs B August 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Yes corn, wheat, lactose, fructose rich foods and stone fruit are all problematic for me. But if you have a slice of apricot, or a small piece of bread once in a blue moon i don’t think it should cause problems…i find that if i consume them two days in a row then i get problems so i restrict my consumption to whenever i go out to dinner. Its so frustrating how all gluten free foods in the supermakets contain alot of corn! (im not a coeliac but as i said wheat, oats, rye…etc irritate my intestines). Now im learning to make everything (even cakes, biscuits) from scratch using rice, tapioca, quinoa flours. After many trials and failures i was finally able to make a decent cake the other day and it actually tasted quite good too! but i used a bit of orange zest as quinoa flour has a strong taste.

    Supplements-wise: im taking Gastrohealth 4 superstrength probiotic (the version without the prebiotic) -im taking about 1/4 of the capsule a day because i find that if i take a whole capsule every day it’ll make me constipated which is painful as well. i just open the capsule and pour the powder onto a spoon and drink with water. I take it with food so that the acid in my stomach doesn’t kill off the probiotic bacteria.
    Im also taking 1-2 tsp of manuka honey/day. And now im also taking about 800mg licorice root tablets a day. Licorice helps with ulcer healing and provides adrenal support which is good if you had to endure a course of prednisone like i did. And i had alot of side effects with prednisone while on it and while tapering; So i know my body reacted very strongly to it.

    Oh and im still taking a bit of sea salt before and after food (as mentioned in my first post).

    Hope this helps :)

  9. Estelle September 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Licorice can cause severe low potassium, which can cause heart arrhythmias. You may already have trouble retaining potassium if you have UC so be careful.

  10. Gina February 7, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Hi!
    Such good news when you find the right diet to suit you and put you into remission
    I am seeing a fodmap dietician in a few weeks I have been waiting 3 months to see her!!
    Hope I have the same success!!
    All the best to all

  11. Wunderer June 5, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    Hi! Hope you’re doing well. I’ve recently switched from SCD to Low FODMAPS. Or rather, I’m on both. I can’t do Paleo because of its emphasis on red meats which I can’t tolerate. I’m able to tolerate oats etc. and have one bowel movement a day without blood and am really excited. I still do SCD yogurt and broths and am just going to start some soups!

  12. Wunderer June 5, 2014 at 6:11 am #

    Another thing that really helped me was coffee, which can be troublesome for many UCers. At home I have it with lactose free milk or normal in cafés. Guess we are all different indeed. I’m also taking bee propolis and boswellia, no meds. And Vit C , multivitamin, and krill oil. Might I suggest lglutamine powder, it repairs intestines as well.

  13. owen April 22, 2015 at 4:39 am #

    Which probiotics have you all tried? I find it difficult to find any that dont contain milk, or arent in a milk drink of some kind.

    Also – when you say corn bothers you, is that sweetcorn or Maize?

  14. Jeremy August 25, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    This is great – I was diagnosed in 2010 – after lots of trial and error with food I managed to reduce and get off the medication. I began with the SCD, which helped initially, but I think probably everyone is different – the main thing for me was not eating onions (which I think are OK on the SCD). My normal routine which seems to keep me free from symptoms, for what it’s worth:

    No onions
    No garlic
    No wholemeal anything – although I can now tolerate a little
    Lactose free milk (I have a dash of normal milk in tea if out)
    Plenty of water – I add High5 Zero Electrolyte tabs 2 – 3 times a day
    Relatively generous use of Himalayan salt in food
    Lemon juice squeezed into mineral water
    Limited sauce/no sauce with food (they often seem to contain onion and wheat, and I seem to tolerate dryer, simpler, less gourmet food better)
    Limit tap or filtered water and use mineral water
    5g L-glutamine first thing in the morning a few hours before breakfast
    15ml flax oil 3-4 times/week
    Ultricalcin supplement
    High quality whey protein isolate supplement
    Limited fruit and veg – mainly eat carrots as these seem safe
    Lots of nuts and seeds, with a little dried fruit mixed in
    Eat Low lactose cheeses (Cheddar etc)
    Occasional natural yogurt is tolerable now, but I couldn’t a while back
    Bacon / Eggs for one meal daily
    Limited wheat – one slice of homemade six-seeded/white rye
    Limit processed foods as much as possible and eat organic where feasible.
    5-7 hours bike training per week
    Get to bed early!

    Anyway – stick at it – it might take some hard work, but it’s worth it…

  15. Patricio September 21, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    The more I read blogs like this, the more I see a pattern for all who have reached remission with diet (regardless if it is SCD, Low Fodmap, Gaps, Paleo, or any other): LOW to NO FIBER meals. Fiber, whether soluble or insoluble, will make your wounded and sensitive colon work too much and not allow for proper healing. Give your system a break and stick to a low residue or even an elemental diet for a few weeks, and you will quickly see results. You will also see how quickly gut healing supplements begin to work for a more complete healing (i.e. L Glutamine, Probiotics, NAC, Gamma Oryzanol, Grass-fed whey protein, SCD yogurt, colostrum, Fermented vegetables, etc). Fiber is not needed to be regular. We were all fooled by the big cereal companies into believing that. Sure, fiber will bulk up your stool and make it seem as if you are less constipated, but in the long run it will just constipate you more and cause hemorrhoids, IBS, IBD, Diverticulosis and even cancer. To be regular on a low-fiber, even a no-fiber, diet; make sure you eat your good fats (grass fed animal fat, coconut oil, raw butter or ghee, flax oil, etc), don’t combine proteins and complex carbs in meals, and take your minerals (mainly magnesium, potassium, calcium and sea/himalayan salt). You will see how fast you begin to have soft, well formed regular BM’s without the strain, pain, mucus or blood.

    Love to all,

    Patricio

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